March, Cambridgeshire

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March town hall market.jpg
The Town Hall Market, March
Grid reference: TL417969
Location: 52°32’24"N, 0°4’12"E
Population: 19,042  (2001)
Post town: March
Postcode: PE15
Dialling code: 01354
Local Government
Council: Fenland

March is a Fenland market town in the Isle of Ely area of Cambridgeshire. It stands on the banks of the River Nene, which is navigable, and is used by pleasure boats.

Like many Fenland towns, March was once an island surrounded by marshes. It occupied the second largest "island" in the Great Level. As the land drained, the town grew and prospered as a trading and religious centre. It was also a minor port and, in more recent times, a market town and an administrative and railway centre.

March was an important railway centre, with a major junction station on the Great Eastern Railway and the Great Northern Railway, 88 miles north of London by rail, 29 miles north of Cambridge, 14 north-west of Ely and nine south of Wisbech.

St Wendreda's Church

St Wendreda, to whom the church is dedicated was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon princess, and this is the only church known to have been dedicated to her. Wendreda is believed to have been a daughter of Anna King of the East Angles (slain in 654) one of the first Christian Kings of East Anglia. Two of her sisters, Æthelthryth and Seaxburh, who were the abbesses of Ely and Minster-in-Sheppey respectively, are better known saints.

The church is world famous for its magnificent double-hammer beam roof with 120 carved angels. It is regarded as one of the best of its kind. John Betjeman described the church as "worth cycling 40 miles in a head wind to see".

In Victorian times, other Anglican churches were built in March, nearer to where the majority of the inhabitants now lived.

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